For many years now, addiction has been called a disease. Counselors and therapists are often trained on the ‘disease concept,’ in which alcoholism and substance abuse are treated like diseases. While there is merit to that mentality, addiction is not actually a disease from a scientific perspective. Viewing it as such may limit the adjustability of a substance abuse treatment program.
Why Addiction Is Considered a Disease
Before addiction was considered a disease, addicts were viewed in a negative light. They were thought to lack a moral compass or the self-discipline to fight addictive cravings. Then one day, someone decided to change the perspective. If addiction is a disease, the people who have it are not immoral or undisciplined. They’re just ill. Society still remains judgmental about addiction, but far less than before.
Addiction also has some disease-like traits. Certain people are more prone to addiction than others based on their health, family history and previous exposures. Addiction will not go away on its own. Even after treatment, an addict will still have an underlying compulsion to drink, smoke, gamble, etc. However, he or she is able to control those compulsions, rather than succumbing to them.
With all of these factors combined, it is easy to see why people think of addiction as a disease.
What Addiction Actually Is
Addiction is a set of behaviors, not a sickness. These behaviors may be the result of other conditions, such as depression or anxiety. They could have been brought on by a traumatic experience, or they could have developed on their own. Addiction is not something you can catch, like a virus, and it is not something you can develop overnight. Nevertheless, addiction is something that needs proper treatment in order to control. It will have a negative impact on your life if left untreated.
How to Overcome Addiction through Substance Abuse Treatment
The best way to overcome addiction is through substance abuse treatment. A specialized therapist will help you discover the root cause of your addiction so you can fight it from the source. You can learn how to change your perception of an addictive substance so it has less value in your life. You can also learn how to curb cravings, how to handle temptations, and how to remove negative influences in your life.
Contact Heron Ridge Associates to learn more about substance abuse treatment in Michigan.